On Thursday’s "Early Show," correspondent Priya David reported on homeowners in Philadelphia trying to avoid foreclosure: "Yajaira Cruz-Rivera thought she was choosing a responsible mortgage plan. But dreams of remodeling crumbled just days after her family moved in...Yajaira fought with her loan company, saying her new mortgage was unfair and unaffordable." However, David then introduced the hero of the story: "That's when she saw an ad on TV for ACORN, a community organization committed to helping homeowners fight foreclosures. Together they rallied the city for change."
ACORN, or the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, in reality, is a left-wing activist organization that seeks to implement radical socialist policies. According to an August 6, 2006 article in the Wall Street Journal by Steven Malanga:
While ACORN now operates in more than 100 cities with a national budget of $37 million, it never truly left behind the welfare-rights mentality. One is hard-pressed to find in the organization's many antipoverty initiatives any programs that address social dysfunctions like illegitimacy and single parenthood. Instead, as ACORN's executive director, Steven Kest, said several years ago, "We are more focused on irresponsible behavior in the corporate sector. I don't think [illegitimacy] comes anywhere close to the irresponsible behavior of people running the largest businesses in this country."
In addition, Stanley Kurtz outlined Barack Obama’s involvement in ACORN in a May 29 article on National Review Online.
In Thursday’s "Early Show" segment, David also described the involvement of the Democratic Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter: "Philadelphia's mayor Michael Nutter has allocated $2 million for an outreach program, including PSAs, a telephone hot-line, even having volunteers going door to door to let homeowners know they have options before they reach foreclosure."
David concluded the segment by describing how Cruz-Rivera became an ACORN activist: "Yajaira was able to renegotiate with her lender and now pays a fixed rate loan she can afford...She left her job as a registered nurse to work full-time at ACORN, helping others like her."
Here is the full transcript of the segment:
JEFF GLOR: Up next, here with the housing market in steep decline, we'll show you how one community is fighting to keep their homes.
JEFF GLOR: The housing bill signed into law by President Bush yesterday is designed to stabilize the weak housing market. It will help 400,000 homeowners in danger of foreclosure out of nearly 3 million who could lose their homes by next year. But the city of Philadelphia is already one step ahead of the federal government. CBS News correspondent Priya David reports.
YAJAIRA CRUZ-RIVERA: We walked in, it almost felt like home
PRIYA DAVID: After years of saving to buy her first home, Yajaira Cruz-Rivera thought she was choosing a responsible mortgage plan. But dreams of remodeling crumbled just days after her family moved in.
CRUZ-RIVERA: So here, as you can see, we have some work still to be done.
DAVID: Yajaira signed a fixed rate mortgage at just over $900 a month. Wow.
CRUZ-RIVERA: Yeah. Welcome to my life.
DAVID: But almost instantly started receiving letters claiming a mix-up. In just weeks her payments grew, settling at nearly $1,700.
CRUZ-RIVERA: This is what we agreed to, right?
DAVID: Yajaira fought with her loan company, saying her new mortgage was unfair and unaffordable.
CRUZ-RIVERA: I have an obligation to my family and my home and I was determined to do whatever I needed to do to improve my standing to save my home.
DAVID: That's when she saw an ad on TV for ACORN, a community organization committed to helping homeowners fight foreclosures. Together they rallied the city for change. Yajaira's call to action got the attention of Philadelphia city hall and they enacted a series of ground breaking initiatives. First, they stopped the sale of all foreclosed properties. And now, the city's playing deal maker, having home owners and lenders meet in courts here at city hall to broker a settlement. The first week-long session recently convened with over 600 cases heard.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: My stuff got postponed. My mortgage company's working with me. They give you lawyers for free. This is a great program.
ANNETTE RIZZO: This was a very unique group of cases. These were the ones which were literally going to be at sheriff's sale with the gavel coming down in April and May.
DAVID: At the heart of the conciliation program, two judges, who were convinced helping both sides legally strike a deal was best for their city.
C. DARNELL JONES: As a matter of law we did not have to act. Nevertheless, we have consciences and we think that this is one of the best and most effective ways to deal with it.
DAVID: Lenders, too, told us they were surprised but pleased.
LORRAINE GAZZARA DOYLE: I have always been told that, you know, a good settlement both parties walk away unhappy. But that's not the case in this case. In that respect this program is very novel.
MICHAEL NUTTER: If you're having problems with your mortgage-
DAVID: Philadelphia's mayor Michael Nutter has allocated $2 million for an outreach program, including psas, a telephone hot-line, even having volunteers going door to door to let homeowners know they have options before they reach foreclosure.
NUTTER: You just can't lose sight of the human side of all this. These are real people and real families, in many instances again, with children, these are real lives that could be devastated but for this kind of activity.
DAVID: Yajaira was able to renegotiate with her lender and now pays a fixed rate loan she can afford.
CRUZ-RIVERA: ACORN Housing, good afternoon, how can I help you?
DAVID: She left her job as a registered nurse to work full-time at ACORN, helping others like her. And saving up. For the day she can finally afford to start remodeling the home she loves. Priya David, CBS News, Philadelphia.